General Principles of Specimen Management

Specimen Management is extremely important in all areas of science and medicine. For many different agencies. For years, many agencies have relied on a barcode system that has had issues over the years. An example of some of the issues happens to be that of fertility mix ups.

In news reports there have been claims of women who had their eggs harvested so that they could later be used for their own potential fertilization treatment. However, they end up with someone else’s egg. Not knowing of course until after the birth of a child. Problems arising with the child, DNA testing having to be performed or other potential tests and the parents finding out that the child is not biologically theirs.

To prevent issues like this from happening again a new form of coding has been developed to help properly store and procure the proper specimens. Radio Frequency Identification also known as RFID for specimen management. This is actually an interesting concept in tagging and identifying specimens.

The frequency uses a form of electromagnetic fields to transmit the necessary information. There are two separate parts for the RFID. The first part is the reading device that sends out a pulse. The pulse then reads a microchip that has a specific number on it. This number corresponds with a specimen. Thus making it easier for scientists and doctors to find the correct specimen they are in need of.

There are billions of different types of specimens that have to be kept safe and secure in all forms. Not just human embryos. But diseases that have been collected, medicines, plants, insects and more. Every field in the scientific world has to be able to catalog and maintain the best system possible. Through Radio Identification Frequency it is possible for each field to do so and be able to manage the growing specimens that are collected on a daily basis.

The history of radio frequency identification devices go back as far as 1945. Radars developed in spotting planes or boats. Thus using a similar code of radio frequency. The biggest part of this form of application was used by the military.

Systems have also been developed to help airports track airplanes that are constantly flying around the world. These systems can track a plane that could be halfway around the world. This helps air traffic controllers manage hundreds of planes flying around the world at any given time. With this system it gives the controllers the ability to help planes land safely during bad weather. Directing the pilots to safe landing sites be it at the airport or nearest landing strip available to the pilot.

Radio Frequency Identification has expanded more recently in the identification and tracking of pets. Pet owners have microchips that are implanted under the skin of their beloved pet. A radio frequency reader is then used by a veterinarian to identify the pet through a number that is coded on the microchip. Thus, providing all the necessary information of the pet owner to the veterinarian. To include, the pets name, possible health issues the pet may have. It will also provide medications the pet may be on that could be critical to the life of the pet.

Because of the cost of certain RFID systems, there are still countries that do not have the technology to properly store specimens in a stable manner. They are still using older systems like those that use a barcoding system.